Two topics in new funding opportunity will enhance community engagement; advance permitting, siting, and installation processes; and improve information-sharing about hydrogen safety.

Last Friday, the Department of Energy (DOE) released a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for up to $59 million to accelerate the research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) of affordable clean-hydrogen technologies. As part of this FOA, $9 million will be allocated for two community-focused topic areas: Topic 4: Enabling Permitting and Safety for Hydrogen Deployment and Topic 5: Equitable Hydrogen Technology Community Engagement. This new funding focus reflects DOE's commitment to directly addressing issues that are important to local communities, and supports DOE's holistic approach to develop and deploy hydrogen technologies while emphasizing the importance of equity and sustainability. By ensuring DOE's projects are sustainable, support local communities, and promote environmental justice, DOE aims to build trust and strengthen the long-term viability of the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) and other commercial-scale hydrogen installations.

Topic 4 will provide up to $6 million to identify and address the primary challenges to permitting, siting, and installation across the hydrogen value chain from production through end-use. Robust permitting processes are essential to enabling safe, equitable, and efficient deployment of energy infrastructure. Specifically, they can help ensure that disadvantaged communities are not overburdened with health concerns and safety risks. Topic 4 also aims to empower communities to develop hydrogen-safety information resources that are tailored to their needs, enabling them to be at the forefront of clean hydrogen technology, with confidence in the safety of those deployments.

Topic 5 is a collaborative effort that spans multiple DOE offices and will provide up to $3 million to improve the capacity of DOE and DOE-funded projects to conduct effective community engagement activities. Supporting environmental justice (EJ) and ensuring that the benefits of clean-hydrogen installations are equitably shared across communities remain key priorities for DOE and other federal agencies, as laid out in the U.S. National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap. To address these priorities, it is essential to effectively engage with communities (particularly disadvantaged communities). Funded projects will conduct direct engagement with a disadvantaged community to gain better understanding of their concerns and provide them with important information about hydrogen and related technologies, as well as develop lessons learned and best practices on Community Benefits Plans. This topic is being coordinated across offices within DOE, including Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, Nuclear Energy, Environmental Justice and Equity, and the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations.

DOE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) will administer this FOA. Visit the EERE funding exchange to learn more.